Does Your Portfolio Turn Away Potential Clients – Freelancer’s Fortnight

Tags: , , , , ,

Categories: Tutorials

A freelancer’s portfolio, psychical and online, is the most valuable thing for a freelancer. It’s what clients want to see, and what is a part of you and your brand identity. But do you feel that your portfolio just isn’t cutting it? It could be your getting the wrong sort of work or work you don’t like doing, and want a change?

Let’s outline some common portfolio pitfalls, what types of work should be there and how much to add. If you’re reading this and you don’t have a portfolio, read our website guide for freelancers and then you can come back here once your ready with populating your portfolio.

Common Freelancer portfolio slip-ups

We’ve identified three common portfolio slip-ups that freelancers could experience during their careers.

I’m Getting Work, But I am Doing Stuff I Don’t Really Enjoy?

Well the plus side, is that your getting work! Let’s take that positive within this hard economic climate. But your getting the wrong sort of work, which we have all encountered at some point. Lets say that your a freelance graphic designer who loves creating business cards but instead you’re being asked by clients to design flash banners or something which you don’t want to be doing. There are normally a couple reasons why this might be happening.

Firstly, the client will commission for what they see in your portfolio. They will not ask you to produce a website design if you only show logo design in your portfolio. Show what you want to be doing. This ties nicely to our recent freelance post, becoming an freelance expert. Give that a read to make sure you’re not trying to cover to many bases.

Also if you designed flash banners 5 years ago but still mention it in your portfolio, it’s time for an update. Make sure your portfolio is up-to-date with projects you’ve just completed. Make sure you include the stuff you enjoy, leaving out stuff you don’t. If you’re new and don’t have much to showcase, then this rule may not apply. It may be better to show a wide range so you can figure out what you really want to do, and then show this only.

Secondly if you haven’t outlined what your strengths or what your skill base is then there may lie another problem. Make sure you clearly explain what you do and give enough conviction to clients to feel they can trust you.

Can Your Portfolio Have Too Much Or Too little?

There’s on going debates; too much and your client can’t find the best bits or sees too much of the ‘ok’ stuff, too little and you seem inexperienced.

Here’s where we stand. We find that new starters need to try and make sure they’re not falling into the too little bracket, but then again showing to much is another hazard in itself. We say go for amount of work that you are proud of, quality over quantity in this case. If you don’t have any commissions, then show personal projects within your portfolio.

It shows you’re actively involved in the field and attempting to keep your knowledge and experience high and most importantly, up-to-date. For more experienced freelancers, it’s easy to publish every last project or piece of work that you have worked on, but it is all relevance? Does it showcase you in the way you would like? If your portfolio contains work from years ago, it’s unlikely to interest new clients compared to your newly created work, unless of course it fits their criteria. Remember, quality over quantity, art directors hate seeing too much. If you swamp them with too much information you’re likely to make them frustrated, instead of interested.

To Summarise

Make sure you showcase relevant up-to-date work that shows off your skills and artistic style. Try not going overboard and make sure each project contains value to clients when browsing your portfolio. Include case studies from previous projects to help build trust with potential clients.

How have you improved your portfolio?

About the author - HKJS


I'm an Illustrator, Designer & Animator from Hampshire, United Kingdom, and have been illustrating for a number of years. I have a wealth of experience within editorial, maps, posters and book covers. Having a firm interest in the creative industry and everything that revolves around it, I want to share what I've learnt to you. From this, I have a keen passion for t-shirt design and how illustration can become a part of something you wear.

Discover our exclusive tips & tricks to help you become a better artist